Punish Companies Allegedly Responsible for Mass Salmon Die-Off

Target: Marcos Emilfork, Regional Prosecutor for Los Lagos

Goal: Punish aquaculture companies that allegedly contributed to mass marine poisonings by dumping thousands of tonnes of dead fish into the ocean.

An investigation is currently underway to determine whether the dumping of thousands of tonnes of dead, poisoned fish into the ocean contributed to a recent salmon die-off. The mass deaths have been declared an ecological disaster by the Chilean president, and they continue to spread along the coastline. The catastrophe has deprived many coastal villages of their livelihoods.

The government is attributing the die-off to the continued effects of the “red tide,” or an algal bloom that has turned the water poisonous and uninhabitable. The algae produces a toxin that can paralyze or kill fish, and has even poisoned some humans. This has been the worst red tide seen in decades, and its effects are likely exacerbated by El Niño, a band of unusually hot water that periodically oscillates through the Pacific ocean.

Along with these natural factors, local fishermen and the scientific community have pointed at the dumping of several thousands of tonnes of poisoned fish back into the open ocean as another contributor. The salmon that washed ashore after the first wave of the die-off were collected by aquaculture companies and taken out to sea, where they were dumped back into the ocean. A vast swath of coastline has now been declared a “zone of imminent health risk” after villages reported illness due to the decaying fish.

Algal blooms have become more common in the past decade, likely due to global warming and quick changes to the ocean environment. This careless dumping of poisoned fish in the middle of an ecological emergency is shocking, and could have caused major harm to the environment. We, the undersigned, ask you to lay criminal charges against the companies if your investigation reveals that the dumps harmed live fish populations.


Dear Mr. Emilfork,

An investigation is currently trying to determine whether the dumping of thousands of tonnes of poisoned fish into the ocean has contributed to an ongoing salmon die-off. The mass deaths have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in economic damage and have rendered a large stretch of coastline a severe health hazard.

In the face of an increasing frequency of the algal blooms that started the die-off, it is imperative that humans stop harmful interference with the ocean. We, the undersigned, demand that those responsible for the dumping are punished to the fullest extent of the law and that ocean protection legislation is improved.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Mortadelo2005

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